CHARLES RANDOLPH-WRIGHT’S “BLUE”, DIRECTED BY PHYLICIA RASHAD AND STARRING LESLIE UGGAMS AND LYNN WHITFIELD TO PLAY APOLLO THEATRE
Rick Miramontez / Pete Sanders / Aaron Meier
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, PLEASE
THE BELOVED PLAY
BY CHARLES RANDOLPH-WRIGHT
WITH MUSIC BY NONA HENDRYX AND LYRICS BY
CHARLES RANDOLPH-WRIGHT AND NONA HENDRYX
TO PLAY 16 WEEK ENGAGEMENT STARTING APRIL 27TH
AT NEW YORK’S LEGENDARY APOLLO THEATER
UNDER THE DIRECTION OF
TONY AWARD® WINNER PHYLICIA RASHAD
STARRING LESLIE UGGAMS AND LYNN WHITFIELD
PRODUCED BY BRIAN MORELAND, RON SIMONS, MIKE JACKSON, JOHN LEGEND AND ERIC FALKENSTEIN
New York, NY (January 22, 2020) – Producers Brian Moreland, Ron Simons, Mike Jackson, John Legend and Eric Falkenstein announced today that Blue, the beloved play by Charles Randolph-Wright with music by Nona Hendryx and lyrics by Charles Randolph-Wright, will play a 16-week engagement at New York’s legendary Apollo Theater (253 West 125th Street), under the direction of Tony Award winner Phylicia Rashad who starred in both the play’s 2000 world premiere at Arena Stage and 2001 New York premiere at Roundabout Theatre Company. Previews are set to begin on April 27th with opening night on May 10th. Blue will run through August 16th.
For a downloadable photo of Nona Hendryx, Charles Randolph-Wright and Phylicia Rashad by Emilio Madrid-Kuser and art click here.
Rashad’s directing credits include acclaimed productions of four August Wilson classics: Gem of the Ocean at Seattle Repertory Theatre, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone at the Mark Taper Forum, and Fences at both the Long Wharf Theatre and the McCarter Theatre. Additionally, she has directed at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre and New York’s Signature Theatre.
Heading the cast will be Tony Award and Emmy Award® winner Leslie Uggams playing the role of Tillie Clark and Emmy Award winner Lynn Whitfield in the role of Peggy Clark. Uggams returns to the Apollo where she first stepped on stage making her professional debut at age 9. Complete casting will be announced shortly.
With fierce wit and astonishing honesty, Blue explores the complexities of identity and trust behind the carefully constructed façade of the Clarks, a socially prominent family that is struggling with the legacy and pitfalls of their own good fortune. Infused with a searing jazz and soul score, Blue celebrates the love and spirit of a family coming to terms with itself.
Randolph-Wright said, “I am thrilled that Blue will continue to open doors to a more diverse world, and also spread a little joy.”
Hendryx said, “I am excited that Phylicia and Charles are bringing Blue back to the stage. I am thrilled to be part of a play about a family coping with life, love, secrets, and lies.”
Rashad added, “I am happy to be directing this play that brought me so much joy. It affirms the importance of theater and its power to touch the human heart.”
Moreland commented, “What do you say when a living legend comes home? Bringing Leslie Uggams back to the Apollo Theater in this role is simply historic! Returning Lynn Whitfield back to the New York stage is a must see! Blue is a play about a family learning to love all parts of itself. Who better to lead us on this journey of love and discovery, than the ever present and ever loving visionary Phylicia Rashad.
The award-winning creative team will include David Rockwell (set design), Toni-Leslie James (costume design), Ryan O’Gara (lighting design) and Dan Moses Schrier (sound design). Music supervisor will be Joseph Joubert.
Complete casting will be announced shortly.
B I O G R A P H I E S
Charles Randolph-Wright (Playwright and Lyrics) has built a dynamic and diversified career in directing, writing, and producing for theater, television, and film. In addition to Blue, he has written Cuttin’ Up, The Night is a Child, Love in Afghanistan, and co-wrote Bea Arthur’s Tony Award nominated show Just Between Friends. As a director, Randolph-Wright has directed the international hit Motown The Musical and Born for This which he co-wrote with gospel icon Bebe Winans.
Nona Hendryx (Music and Lyrics). Revolutionary art-rock, artist Nona Hendryx is a celebrated vocalist, songwriter, musician, and author. Tackling social issues, love, and politics, Hendryx’s legendary career spans decades of sound and style evolution. Hendryx fans know her as one of the groundbreaking group Labelle and their No.1 worldwide hit “Lady Marmalade (Voulez Vous Coucher Avec Moi C’est Soir?)” Hendryx, came into her own as a solo artist post Labelle. On her album Mutatis Mutandis (changing those things which need to be changed), Hendryx striking rendition of Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” is somewhere between funk and the end of the stratosphere.
Phylicia Rashad (Director) directed Our Lady of 121st Street at the Signature Theatre; The Roommate at Steppenwolf Theatre; Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, and Immediate Family at the Mark Taper Forum; Fences at the Long Wharf Theatre and McCarter Theatre; Immediate Family at the Goodman Theatre; Four Little Girls at the Kennedy Center; A Raisin in the Sun at Ebony Repertory Theatre, Kirk Douglas Theatre, and Westport Country Playhouse; and Gem of the Ocean at Seattle Repertory Theatre. As an actress – Broadway: August: Osage County, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Cymbeline (Lincoln Center Theater), August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean (Tony nomination), A Raisin in the Sun (Tony and Drama Desk Awards), Into the Woods, Dreamgirls, The Wiz. Off-Broadway: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Head of Passes (Lucille Lortel Award), The Story, Helen, Everybody’s Ruby, Blue ,Bernarda Alba. Regional: Every Tongue Confess, Blues for an Alabama Sky, Medea. Film: Creed II, Creed, Good Deeds, For Colored Girls…, Frankie and Alice, Just Wright, Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored, Loving Jezebel, The Visit. Television: “David Makes Man,” “This is Us,” “A Raisin in the Sun” (NAACP Image Award, Emmy, and SAG nominations), “The Old Settler,” “Free of Eden,” “Cosby,” and “The Cosby Show.”
Leslie Uggams (Tillie Clark) is a Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress who made her first professional appearance at the age of 9 at the Apollo Theater where she opened for such musical legends as Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Dinah Washington. She then went on to Broadway (Hallelujah, Baby! -Tony Award) to the big screen (Deadpool, Skyjacked) and to television (“Empire”, “The Leslie Uggams Show”). Perhaps best known for her stirring performance in the landmark TV mini-series Alex Haley’s “Roots” (Critics Choice Award, Emmy and Golden Globe nominations). Other Broadway roles have included starring in Blues in the Night, Her First Roman with Richard Kiley, Jerry’s Girls, Anything Goes (Lincoln Center Theatre), Thoroughly Modern Millie, King Headley II with Brian Stokes Mitchell and On Golden Pond opposite James Earl Jones. Regional credits include A Little Night Music, The Rink, Into the Woods, Master Class, Call Me Madam, Hello, Dolly! As well as touring nationally with her autobiographical one- woman musical Uptown/Downtown.
Lynn Whitfield (Peggy Clark) is an Emmy Award winner and current star of Oprah Winfrey Network’s “Greenleaf”, where she plays Lady Mae. She is also currently seen opposite Sanaa Latham in the Netflix movie Nappily Ever After. Lynn has had recurring roles in the hit series “How to Get Away with Murder”, “Mistresses” and on the cable drama “Hit the Floor”. It was on series like “Cagney and Lacey”, “Miami Vice” and “Hill Street Blues” where TV audiences first saw Whitfield. Other films include: Eve’s Bayou and A Thin Line Between Love and Hate (with Regina King and Martin Lawrence). She has starred in numerous TV movies and miniseries including “Sophie and the Moonhanger”, “The George McKenna Story” (opposite Denzel Washington), “The Women of Brewster Place” (alongside Oprah Winfrey) and “The Josephine Baker Story” for which she received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress as well as an NAACP Image Award. Off-Broadway, Whitfield starred in The Vagina Monologues.
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